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Type: Journal article
Title: Should we allow organ donation euthanasia? Alternatives for maximising the number and quality of organs for transplantation
Author: Savulescu, J.
Wilkinson, D.
Citation: Bioethics, 2012; 26(1):32-48
Publisher: Blackwell Publ Ltd
Issue Date: 2012
ISSN: 0269-9702
Statement of
Dominic Wilkinson and Julian Savulescu
Abstract: There are not enough solid organs available to meet the needs of patients with organ failure. Thousands of patients every year die on the waiting lists for transplantation. Yet there is one currently available, underutilized, potential source of organs. Many patients die in intensive care following withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment whose organs could be used to save the lives of others. At present the majority of these organs go to waste. In this paper we consider and evaluate a range of ways to improve the number and quality of organs available from this group of patients. Changes to consent arrangements (for example conscription of organs after death) or changes to organ donation practice could dramatically increase the numbers of organs available, though they would conflict with currently accepted norms governing transplantation. We argue that one alternative, Organ Donation Euthanasia, would be a rational improvement over current practice regarding withdrawal of life support. It would give individuals the greatest chance of being able to help others with their organs after death. It would increase patient autonomy. It would reduce the chance of suffering during the dying process. We argue that patients should be given the choice of whether and how they would like to donate their organs in the event of withdrawal of life support in intensive care. Continuing current transplantation practice comes at the cost of death and prolonged organ failure. We should seriously consider all of the alternatives.
Keywords: organ transplantation ethics
medical ethics
tissue and organ procurement/ethics
tissue donors/supply & distribution
Rights: © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Re-use of this article is permitted in accordance with the Terms and Conditions set out at
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8519.2010.01811.x
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest
Obstetrics and Gynaecology publications

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